Racers took to the qualifying course in Johnson Valley yesterday to vie for starting positions for Friday’s main King of the Hammers event. Over 100 racers qualified on day one, with another batch of racers hitting the course again today.
After two days of qualifying and last-chance qualifiers, the starting lineup and order is set for the 2014 King of the Hammers. There were 145 racers who left the starting line, with 123 of those posting qualifying times to earn starting positions.
ATTICA, IN: More than 30 teams competed in the 2nd Annual ULTRA4 race held at Badlands Off-Road Park last Saturday as part of the Ultimate Motorsport Championship in Attica, IN. While the course layout was similar to last year, the dry and dusty conditions of 2012 were replaced with heavy rain and extensive mud. Thousands of fans braved the wet and mucky conditions for a chance to see some of their favorite ULTRA4 drivers compete in a course that featured a newly created off road amphitheater and a technical rock quarry made even more punishing due to the slick conditions.
Several west coast teams made the trek to Indiana including; Shannon Campbell, Jesse Haines, Troy Stone, and Nitto Tire drivers Nick Nelson and Loren Healy. Shannon Campbell, the only two-time King of The Hammers and this year’s 2nd place KOH finisher, laid down a blistering 45 second qualifying time, beating out 2012 King, Erik Miller by 5 seconds. One second behind Miller was this year’s 3rd place KOH finisher, Chicky Barton.
Rausch Creek, PA: Last weekend’s WIDIA Rausch Creek Qualifier proved to be one of the coldest, wettest races in ULTRA4 history. Heavy rains on Friday produced thick fog and low-visibility conditions, prompting race organizer, Dave Cole to move qualifying to Saturday morning just two hours before the main race. 2010 Rausch Creek Champion, Derek West qualified 4th for the main race behind two former Kings of the Hammers, Shannon Campbell and Erik Miller, as well as 2012’s Rausch Creek winner, Bill Baird. By the second lap, West had worked his way past all three competitors to claim the lead and never looked back.
After just three hours and eighteen minutes, Derek West in his Nitto Tire ULTRA4 car had completed all five grueling laps and claimed the checkered flag beating 2012 King of The Hammers, Erik Miller by less than two minutes. Saturday’s win makes Derek West the only two-time ULTRA4 WIDIA Rausch Creek Champion. Saturday’s win makes West the current leader in the 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional ULTRA4 Series.
Twin Peaks, CA: The 2012 Ultra4 Pro Series Championship began with the 2012 Griffin King of The Hammers and ended with the 2012 Ultra4 American Rocksports Championship last weekend in Tooele, Utah. More than 50 drivers from 20 states competed for a chance to be named the 2012 Ultra4 Pro Series Champion. Ultimately, Ultra4 veteran and short course champion, Brad Lovell, would claim the title.
The 2012 Ultra4 Pro Series Championship consisted of three races. Each race was meant to highlight the unique characteristics and strengths of Ultra4 cars. The three races for this year’s series were: 2012 Griffin King of The Hammers, which emphasized high speed desert racing, endurance and rock crawling, Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno; a 500+ mile race through the Nevada desert that tested both cars and drivers endurance, and The American Rocksports Challenge which combined short course racing and rock crawling with multiple cars competing simultaneously in a series of heat races.
TWIN PEAKS, CA – March 21, 2012 – Hammerking Productions released the trailer for the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers movie titled, “Rise of the East” today. The title for this year’s film is a reference to the 2012 King, Erik Miller. Miller is the first winner of the race to reside east of the Mississippi in Cumberland, MD.
The movie will document the week-long off-road racing event held every February in Johnson Valley, CA. 2012 marked the 6th year for the King of the Hammers race which featured more than 200 teams and 30,000 spectators competing in over 5 days of racing. The movie’s release date is expected this summer following a red carpet premiere.
Check out the trailer below:
Santee, CA – FOX—the industry-leading ride dynamics company— equipped rock racer, Erik Miller, wins his first King of the Hammers, becoming one of three FOX drivers to win the race since its inception five years ago. FOX now has four of the five titles to its credit with Shannon Campbell’s two wins in 2008 and 2011, and Jason Scherer bringing home the win in 2009.
Erik Miller crossed the finish line after 6 hours of controlled chaos besting second place by nearly thirteen minutes. Miller previously finished fifth in 2010, fourteenth in 2011. The win-defining choice that attributed to his 2012 victory was his decision to purchase a set of FOX Bypass shocks and Coil-overs from his local dealer.
The 2012 edition of King of the Hammers (KOH) was the largest yet, drawing 134 competitors and thousands of spectators from across the globe to Johnson Valley, CA. As the event grows, so does the caliber of the competition and level of suspension technology to gain that competitive edge. KOH is a unique race in that it combines two disciplines of racing from both ends of the offroad spectrum, and everything in between, to pit man and machine against the most extreme, natural terrain the Mojave Desert has to dish out.
To finish strong—let alone win—teams must design their vehicles for optimum performance in the methodical and meticulous rock climb sections for the long, wide-open sections where they reach break-neck speeds of up to 120mph. This is where an intimate understanding of the wide range of terrain dynamics is crucial to getting a perfectly tuned suspension system for the driver’s vehicle is a distinct advantage. With every vehicle having its own distinct characteristics, there is no one-suspension-fits-all solution.
The 2012 edition of the race saw a new champion crowned by the end, as Maryland resident Erik Miller showed that the East Coast rock-crawlers have what it takes to tackle the brutal Hammer course.
More 2012 King of the Hammers Coverage:
To get a glimpse at all that encompasses this unique event, check out Off-Road.com’s highlight video of the race below:
Get the Flash Player to see this player.